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Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.

Cleaning frames with wfp

Posted by elfords (elfords), 19 March 2004
Hi all,

I posted this question over a month ago and have yet to have a response to it so I thought I would give it another try! So come on wfp users lets here from you.

When asked how often we clean frames I replied with the following - We usually offer to clean the window frames twice a year which is in our opinion frequent enough to keep them sufficiently clean and we charge twice the normal window clean price as in our experience it takes twice as long if done properly. On a slightly different point it would be interesting to know how the wfp guys get on with cleaning the frames using there systems as a lot of guys seem to state that they will clean the frames as well as the glass every time. We have tended to avoid this and only clean frames specifically as stated above to ensure they are done thoroughly and to avoid leaving contaminated water on the glass which you are risking if you clean the frames every time as part of the general window clean. We always clean the frames first and then go over again cleaning just the glass to ensure they are left spotless, this is the only way from three years wfp experience we have been able to guarantee good results, dont get me wrong if I thought we could clean the frames and sills every time and still have a clean brush to leave the glass spotless then that would be great and we would only charge a little extra to include this, but we have never found this to be the case, so either wfp guys who say they include the frames are either in-experienced, not cleaning the frames each time as stated and just using this as a sales gimmic when really only cleaning frames periodically, leaving glass in worse condition than they could, very lucky or we have been doing it all wrong for three years! As the problem always comes when you have tried to clean the frames & sills followed by the glass you will nearly always have picked up too much dirt on the brush especially from the sills to enable you to leave the glass spotless. Please enlighten us of your views
Posted by elfords (elfords), 19 March 2004
forgot to mention that to ensure the glass is left spotless after cleaning the frames we use a seperate pole which will be cleaning behind the frame cleaning pole to ensure that the brush remains clean enough for a gfood finish - hence the reason why we charge twice the price as I said it is twice the work!
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 19 March 2004

The main problem is the tops, the rest can be cleaned if you want to spend the time.  The brush is at the wrong angle for the sills, apart from the ground floor where you can just tip it up to get it.

4 years WFP experience.
Posted by brownie (brownie), 19 March 2004
i am so glad that someone who has been using wfp for over 4 yrs is telling it how it really is.
my views exactly was that there is no way you can clean the frames everytime like the wfp leaflet says because on main roads quite a bit of dirt gets on the frames after a month,so you clean the frames then the windows,......wat with.....a dirty brush.....and its even worse if they bead because you cant rinse.
ive been having some horrendous results from my wfp and i put it down to a dirty brush after doing the frames.
so wat do we do.....leave the frames or wat
i hav only had my wfp since the new year and some houses are on their 3rd clean but i still hav to go back and check and redo them....i hav also dropped in my hourly rate since i had my wfp and so i am still a bit uncertain about the results,.....but i am going to persist and am looking forward to warmer weather were they dry faster so i can check results stright away rather then waiting for them to dry.
is it only me or is there other people out there struggling ?
can we do the frames and windows everytime.? or wait till they dry then do windows,.....or risk the contaminated drips..............

Posted by Ian_Giles (Ian_Giles), 19 March 2004
As someone who is looking to invest in a WFP I will be extremely interested in the responses to your question.

Up until now I have assumed, due to the fact that you have a continuous water supply that the frames were done  too as an almost unavoidable consequence.

What happens with georgian style windows where you have several panes underneath one another.
does this mean that you have to have several clean brushes?

As there is the continuous water supply, isn't the brush head cleaned as you go along, providing you rinse thoroughly?

I have read a great many positives with regards to the WFP, but there are pro's and con's with every system, and I am doing my damnest to get past all the hype.

It is a lot of money (relative) to invest if the gains don't vastly outweigh the disadvantages.

As a standard window cleaner of 20 years, I do not clean the frames unless asked, and then I charge as much as double for the Privilege. The sills are done as a matter of course, anyone who doesn't clean up the mess they create isn't doing the job properly.
There may be some that think that the frames should also be done as a matter of course.
Any postings on this subject will be reviewed with great interest from this particular member.

With interest,

Posted by elfords (elfords), 20 March 2004
Hi Ian & Brownie,

As I think I made clear in my original post in our experience the frames can be cleaned but only as a job on its own hence the reason we charge considerably more as we want to do the job right. I do believe that the manufacturers are overselling the product on the basis that you can clean the frames as well, because this just is not the case. The problem is that there are many nooks & crannys that dirt, spiders webs etc can build up so when you run your brush over them of course it cleans it but also ends up in the bristles of your brush and is there to contaminate the glass leaving a unsatisfactory finish. With regards to cleaning the likes of georgian windows these do not usually cause the same problem because there is a lot smaller surface area between the glass panels for dirt to build up so as long as the windows are done at least bi-monthly the dirt is kept to a minimum.

The main reason that prompted me to get your replies is due to a local competitor make a big song and dance that they will offer a free frame clean every time they clean your windows, so to the unexpecting customer we will look uncompetitive and of course I feel these inexperienced new wfp operators will give us all a bad name which is the last thing we need as this method is still in its early days and it is sometimes difficult enough overcoming new customers skepticsm. Whilst I am not saying they are deliberately setting out to misinform with what I see a a sales gimmic I think it is more a case of being mis-sold the capabilities of the wfp system and there mis placed enthusiasm and lack of hands on experience  
Posted by replacement (Justin R), 20 March 2004
I agree there thats why i inculde this in my price, now yes i do feel i am too cheap which i made a mistake on 2-3 houses i priced.

Now the house below i charge 15 with Frames. Which i feel is a good price ill like to charge more but theres someone else just started around here and his charging like 4 for that house. Fingers crossed he will not be around long. The other wc in the area would charge 8.50 so i am above the avg. price for this area but i put it down to the Frames, no complaints yet.

I only do res. at the moment so i only got an 2ft Pole for ground floor and an 30ft for 2nd.

Posted by Ian_Giles (Ian_Giles), 20 March 2004
The house you show is what I would consider a standard three bed.
Around my locale I would be charging around the 8.50 mark, but that would not include the frames, nor a conservatory if there was one.
I rarely do domestics now as my round is commercial, and using the normal method of cleaning using a squeegee I would expect to take about 20-25 minutes to clean a property of this size. Including turning up, setting up, getting paid & reloading ladders on car and so on.
Three in a row would of course be quicker and I am also not talking of working at top pace, just the sort of pace that you would be going along at if you average things out over a day or so.
Considering you also do the frames with your WFP, how long does it take you to clean this house?
For me a full frame clean, if done every month would add about 10 minutes or so as after the first time, and especially if they are UPVC windows a simple wipe over with a damp scrim before you wash with applicator would suffice.
Posted by replacement (Justin R), 20 March 2004
Well the 1st time i clean an new house it takes alot longer due to the frames but i take this as time invested for later also helps speaking to the customer after and tell them you expect them to be customers for a long time so i have done a grand job for them i never look at it as 1 job i look at that 15 turing into 180 over the year, it just makes good business sense spending time on the 1st job as there going to have a good look after you leave. So 1st clean approx 1hr. But on the 2nd clean it will take approx 30 mins all in from time to setup and pack away.

Now i dont do wooden frames as there just hassles with flaking paint work, i do tell the customer this and adjust my price for this.

Posted by pussycatz (HCS), 27 March 2004
I too am looking to invest in a wfp system. The round I have is 90% domestic so the subject here is of interest. I too have been told by various manufacturers that you clean the window frames at the same time and charge the same price as traditional window cleaning.

At the moment when customers want frames cleaned I charge twice as much which is fine when they ask, but it would not be acceptable to charge everyone double each time I use a wfp and if I don't then my hourly rate will be halved.

Can you just clean the windows with a wfp and still get a result as good as traditional cleaning?
Posted by Silly_Philly (Philip Hanson), 27 March 2004
Can you just clean the windows with a wfp and still get a result as good as traditional cleaning?

Yes you can.  We charge extra for frames as well, and we dont do them unless we have been asked.  The only time you MUST clean the frames as well is for georgian windows.  (The brush bumps over them, and cleans them whether you like it or not!)

You can't tell the customers that your wonderful new method does the frames as well so its going to cost more!  

However, to get them enthusiastic about it, you might say it'll do a bit of the frames too, and that is a bonus for them at no extra charge.  (Make sure you mention it wont be perfect the 1st couple of times, otherwise they'll complain-guaranteed!)

Posted by replacement (Justin R), 27 March 2004
Phils right there. I do the frames but charge alittle bit more. Only time i will not do the frames is when theres flakey paint on the frames, as i dont want this going into my brush then on the windows its a right pain and takes ages to get out. I learnt the hard way there..

As Phil says make sure you tell them 1st time might not be perfect, but as an added bouns i always guarantee the windows and ill return if they inform me of problems, as long as its no act of God ie bird crap. Anit had no one ring me yet complaining.

Posted by choice.clean (choice.clean), 31 March 2004
i agree pro active is the key very few phone me if i tell them you will get a spot or two on fisrst few cleans when i am quoting one point for the guy using a 30 foot pole on domestic the top 20 is the best with ionics i started off with a 30 foot carbon fibre what a crippler Tonguestill they only had that size pole when i called to collect my kit motto check check and double check when buying your the way the carbon fibre 20 foot does last a bit longer but will wear at the clamping point can be cured by cutting and re drilling but you end up with a 1 foot pole eventually for model villages Undecided

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